Nobel Prize Controversies

Nobel Prize Controversies

After his death in 1896, the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel established the Nobel Prizes. This specified that annual prizes are to be awarded for service to humanity in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. Similarly, the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel is awarded along with the Nobel Prizes. Since the first award in 1901, the prizes have occasionally engendered criticism and controversy.

Nobel sought to reward "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind". One prize, he stated, should be given "to the person who shall have made the most important 'discovery' or 'invention' within the field of physics". Awards committees have historically rewarded discoveries over inventions: 77% of Nobel Prizes in physics have been given to discoveries, compared with only 23% to inventions. In addition, the scientific prizes typically reward contributions over an entire career rather than a single year.

No Nobel Prize was established for mathematics and many other scientific and cultural fields. An early theory that jealousy led Nobel to omit a prize to mathematician Gösta Mittag-Leffler was refuted because of timing inaccuracies. Another possibility is that Nobel did not consider mathematics as a "practical" discipline. Both the Fields Medal and the Abel Prize have been described as the "Nobel Prize of mathematics".

The most notorious controversies have been over prizes for Literature, Peace and Economics. Beyond disputes over which contributor's work was more worthy, critics most often discerned political bias and Eurocentrism in the result. The interpretation of Nobel's original words concerning the Literature prize have been repeatedly revised.

Read more about Nobel Prize Controversies:  Chemistry, Economics, Literature, Peace, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, Nobel Rumors

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Famous quotes containing the words nobel prize, nobel and/or prize:

    Parents can fail to cheer your successes as wildly as you expected, pointing out that you are sharing your Nobel Prize with a couple of other people, or that your Oscar was for supporting actress, not really for a starring role. More subtly, they can cheer your successes too wildly, forcing you into the awkward realization that your achievement of merely graduating or getting the promotion did not warrant the fireworks and brass band.
    Frank Pittman (20th century)

    Parents can fail to cheer your successes as wildly as you expected, pointing out that you are sharing your Nobel Prize with a couple of other people, or that your Oscar was for supporting actress, not really for a starring role. More subtly, they can cheer your successes too wildly, forcing you into the awkward realization that your achievement of merely graduating or getting the promotion did not warrant the fireworks and brass band.
    Frank Pittman (20th century)

    I prize the purity of his character as highly as I do that of hers. As a moral being, whatever it is morally wrong for her to do, it is morally wrong for him to do. The fallacious doctrine of male and female virtues has well nigh ruined all that is morally great and lovely in his character: he has been quite as deep a sufferer by it as woman, though mostly in different respects and by other processes.
    Angelina Grimké (1805–1879)